The Tropic of Big Sur


It is called Big Sur Country

where I live

and many men of letters

have passed through

none have denied its beauty

but few have felt at home here


old Henry Miller – city born

burned his bald head brown

trying to catch the color

of the sun of Partington

like Icarus he failed and in the end

retired to cement maze south of here

more at home in an elevator

than at those dizzy heights


and Jack Keruac

hitched his way along this granite coast

with no real sense of belonging

crawling here like an ant

he found the place a graveyard

the off shore rocks tombstones

in the ghost surf

on the road

running like a child in the dark

hearing things in the bushes

he hurried north to hide

in the mulch pits of Marin County


and NIchard Beatigan has come

and gone

and others drawn to and driven off

by the size and silence of this place


but Robinson Jeffers knew

that soaring old predator – sharp eyed

he knew

if he could speed time up

fast enough

we would see that the mountains

are dancing

and with us

Poem by Ric Masten

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